5 Ways to Help Get Through Hard Times

As I talked about in my recent post on struggle I’ve been going through a tough time.

I’ve been wrestling with some big questions that don’t come with easy answers. Not so much a few blue days where I’m feeling down, but I’m in a season of my life where I need to ask myself some difficult questions and try to make some life changing decisions.

I’m sure many of you are also feeling this way as there are so many different situations that life can throw at us that mean we have to stop and reassess. Things like loosing a job, a loved one dying, a change in our physical or cognitive ability, a relationship ending, moving to a new place etc. These big shifts and changes, especially ones that we don’t see coming, didn’t plan for, or would not have wanted, can be really hard.

I talked to my husband about this feeling the other night and I put it like this,

“It feels like I had a picture of what my life would look like, I had these expectations, and now I’m having to completely retake the picture. And while I’m retaking the picture, I feel like I’m looking at a blank nothing. I don’t know where I’m going or what I even want it to look like. I also have to grieve the picture that isn’t going to be”.

So, feeling all of these things, and knowing there won’t be an easy or quick solution. I’m trying to find ways to get through in the mean time and I thought I’d share them.

  1. Let yourself have moments just to feel however you feel. These big changes come with a lot of different feelings and part of getting through it is acknowledging there are going to be times when you need to break down. That’s okay. These feelings are going to ebb and flow like waves. Remember though that they are just that, waves that will pass.
  2. Make yourself do something that usually makes you feel good. In hard times you will probably have long periods where you veg out and don’t do much. Try to pick 1 active thing you can do like going for a walk, reading a book, tidying your house, taking a bath etc. That usually makes you feel good (I don’t mean active as in physical, I mean something you can actively engage in). It won’t solve your problems but it can help take your mind off the bigger things and make you feel a little better for a while.
  3. Reward yourself for small achievements. Maybe it’s cooking dinner, or doing a short workout, it doesn’t need to be a big thing. Acknowledge your small victories, literally give yourself a pat on the back or high five someone, it can help you feel some control and better about your situation.
  4. Reach out to others. If you can, talk to someone about how you’ve been feeling and the changes you’re having to face. Again, the conversation might not provide you with all of the solutions to life’s problems (in fact it probably won’t) but it helps to remember you’re not alone even if they don’t totally understand what you’re going through.
  5. Find or create words or stories of acknowledgement. I’m not one who lives by affirmations. Sayings like “Choose joy” often make me annoyed and feel worse as they seem dismissive or unrealistic. But sometimes finding stories or words that validate or acknowledge how we feel can help us to move through hard feelings. One quote that I found on Pinterest recently from author S.C. Lourie that I’ve found comforting is:

You don’t need to chant it in the mirror every day, but put the words of acknowledgement somewhere you can see them so that you are reminded regularly. If it’s a story maybe it’s a book from someone who has gone through something similar or just also going through tough times that you can read throughout the day.

It’s cliché I know, but life is a long journey with a lot of different parts. I’m realizing I’m not in the happy glowy part right now I’m in one of the slow slogging parts that I wish I could fast forward through. You can’t hit fast forward in your life though (unless you’re in the movie Click). Big shifts are hard and there aren’t easy fixes usually.

I can’t tell you that it will be over soon, or that it will even end completely, just that at some point it will change. In the mean time while you’re working out what to do, like me, trying these 5 things can help. They are definitely making some small shifts in my days to make life feel more manageable.

Write soon,

Hannah B.L.

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